Appendices: Learn More About Israel’s Story 91 Struggles of the Middle AgesB lood libel was the allegation that Jews hundreds were burned at the stake or drowned in murder non-Jews, especially Christian wells. If they didn’t “confess” voluntarily to the children, in order to obtain blood for crime, a confession was obtained through torture. the making of Matzah Passover or otherrituals; most blood libels occurred close to Pass- Jews were subject to a wide range of legal disabili-over. The blood libel led to trials and massacres of ties and restrictions throughout the Middle Ages,Jews in the Middle Ages and early modern times, some of which lasted until the end of the 19thand was revived by the Nazis. The blood libel (libel century. Jews were excluded from most trades.is a false allegation) was particularly ironic given Often Jews were barred from all occupations butthat a Jew may not ingest blood in any form (it’s money-lending and peddling, and even these werea violation of the Kosher laws). Tragically, Jews in forbidden at times. The number of Jews permittedevery generation lost their lives due to this hor- to reside in different places was limited; they wererible lie. concentrated in ghettos and were not allowed to own land. They were subject to discriminatoryAs the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe taxes when entering cities or districts other thanin the mid-14th century, annihilating more than their own and were forced to swear special Jewisha half the population, Jews were taken as scape- Oaths and wear yellow Stars of David to identifygoats. Rumors spread that they caused the dis- themselves as Jews.ease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds ofJewish communities were destroyed by violence; Russian Anti-SemitismC zar Catherine the Great sought to get In addition, thousands of Jews fell victim to dev- rid of Russia’s Jews, and in 1791, she astating pogroms (outbreaks of violence against established the Pale of Settlement as a Jews in Europe) in the 1870s and 1880s. The po- dumping place. More than 90 percent groms, boycotts and other anti-Semitic depreda-of Russia’s Jews were crammed into the Pale. This tions Jews faced in the Pale led to mass immigra-settlement covered the territory of present-day tion to the United States (2 million between 1881Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belorus- and 1914).sia. Even within the Pale, Jews were discriminatedagainst: They paid double taxes, were forbidden tolease land, run taverns or receive higher education.